Adult Cochlear Implant Users Versus Typical Hearing Persons: An Automatic Analysis of Acoustic–Prosodic Parameters

Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR(2022)

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Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the speech prosody of postlingually deaf cochlear implant (CI) users compared with control speakers without hearing or speech impairment. Method: Speech recordings of 74 CI users (37 males and 37 females) and 72 age-balanced control speakers (36 males and 36 females) are considered. All participants are German native speakers and read Der Nordwind und die Sonne (The North Wind and the Sun), a standard text in pathological speech analysis and phonetic transcriptions. Automatic acoustic analysis is performed considering pitch, loudness, and duration features, including speech rate and rhythm. Results: In general, duration and rhythm features differ between CI users and control speakers. CI users read slower and have a lower voiced segment ratio compared with control speakers. A lower voiced ratio goes along with a prolongation of the voiced segments' duration in male and with a prolongation of pauses in female CI users. Rhythm features in CI users have higher variability in the duration of vowels and consonants than in control speakers. The use of bilateral CIs showed no advantages concerning speech prosody features in comparison to unilateral use of CI. Conclusions: Even after cochlear implantation and rehabilitation, the speech of postlingually deaf adults deviates from the speech of control speakers, which might be due to changed auditory feedback. We suggest considering changes in temporal aspects of speech in future rehabilitation strategies. Supplemental Material:
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